I am currently (very extremely desperately) seeking developers for help with a project to bring external storage support to Palm devices. Although I am an experienced programmer and have worked with hardware development, I am not experienced with PalmOS hardware development.

Yes…financial compensation is available.

The project is to bring support for USB host mode to Palm devices as a means of reading external storage devices.

There are two means by which this could possibly be accomplished. The first being primarily through software. Most new palm devices, such as the LifeDrive and treo 600, 650, 680 and 700p use the PXA-270 chipset. The PXA includes USB host capabilities, but they are not implemented in these devices. Whether or not these capabilities could be enabled through software, or whether they have been disabled on a lower level remains to be seen. However, this method would be preferable, as it would only require a small adapter to connect a USB device.

The second method would be to use an external hardware adapter to act as a bridge, serving the data to the Palm device, and supporting USB host mode. Such a device could be produced from something such as a Linux embedded controller.

The benefits of such capabilities are enormous, and include some of the following:

- Backing up data to thumb drives
- Transferring digital photos from cameras that do not use SD cards
- Transferring photos from cameras with SD cards, without having to swap cards
- Sharing media or information with others
- Downloading online music (using the wireless capabilities of the Palm device) and transferring it to iPods or other media players
- Reading data off of external hard drives
- Adding full jukebox entertainment capabilities to the Palm

One of the most exciting aspects of this feature is the ability to add large amounts of storage to the device, thus creating a true convergence device. Currently, devices like the Treo can replace many portable electronics, but have yet proven to be an alternative to iPod and similar personal media players. Although a 4gb SD card does allow for a decent amount of music or short movies, it does not allow one to take along their entire music library and a few movies.

However, with a USB host adapter, this becomes possible by adding additional storage. For example, US modular offers a low-power 12gb usb drive, which is smaller than a zippo lighter and only uses a small amount of power.

Here is an example of how such a device could be outfitted as a “sled” which would only add a small amount of weight to the device and dramatically increase capacity.


(this image is intentionally rough and unrealistic. I don’t want to spend the time on one that looks real and then find someone posting it somewhere claiming it exists when it does not)

In addition to allowing for storage access, having USB host capabilities on the device will open the door for additional drivers to be developed for all manner of devices, including keyboards, data collection devices, webcams, network adapters ect.

Hopefully, it will be possible to develop a relatively simple adapter to accomplish this.

Please if you are at all interested, let me know!!!